Gunnells hypocrisy

How I agree with the Editor s comments in last week s Comet about Gunnells and the Manulife buildings. It is madness! Pure and unadulterated madness, that one should not be demolished and is to be and the other which should have been demolished years ago

How I agree with the Editor's comments in last week's Comet about Gunnells and the Manulife buildings.

It is madness! Pure and unadulterated madness, that one should not be demolished and is to be and the other which should have been demolished years ago and yet is not to be!

Brian Hall, instead of pontificating as to how sad he feels about this, should be onto two jags Prescott and demand that Stevenage Borough Council be given money to buy this lovely house from the Garrards with a view to preserving it. Perhaps as an extension to Stevenage Museum or even an official house for the mayor, it should be saved for posterity and for the enjoyment of the people of Stevenage, who, after all voted Brian Hall and this ridiculous government into office in the first place!

How about our lottery jackpot winners making a contribution, come on, Stevenage, get off your backsides and put up a fight.


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The story of Titmore Cottages is exactly what we are fighting for in Stevenage Old Town, to save its heritage.

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If two small cottages can be saved in Hitchin it will be a disgrace to demolish Gunnells in Stevenage. It seems that developers are now scanning our town for more garden grabbing. Anybody can now get satellite pictures of any area of our planet through Google Earth, so it is easy to spot houses with large gardens.

I also wonder if people in Stevenage are aware that 500 and more one and two bedroom flats are going up in the Old Town and that at least the same number of cars will be added to our traffic jams. It already takes 20 minutes on a weekday to get from the High Street to the A1(M).

According to our district plan, SBC has decided to transform our Old Town into an 18-hour amusement park, hence the pressure for more bars and restaurants. What next? Why not strip joints and casinos? After all, as these flats are not built for families, how are all these people going to be entertained? And why not start building on roundabouts? At least residents there would have a much better view than those who will only look at passing trains from their tiny windows from the massive, monstrous terraced block of the Fairlands Way development.

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The Gunnells and the Manulife building, if demolished, will trigger completely opposite reactions from the people of Stevenage. The former will be a disgrace and will cause a public outcry and the latter a success story with a desired outcome.

The owners of both buildings are driven by greed to maximise their profits, but there is a difference. Bluebird Holdings have no connections with Stevenage - Jersey being more agreeable. John Garrard grew up in Stevenage, made his money in Stevenage, but has no interest in preserving any of our town's heritage. He will be remembered as the one who demolished Gunnells - his own family house.

His architect Nicolas Tye has described a five/six-bedroom house on three levels as a three-bedroom dwelling. How is this possible? Very easy to explain that there are three bedrooms on the first floor and on a second floor another three rooms, which did not make the count in the planning application! One in fact is called a bonus room and the other a tank room! A complete floor is left empty on another block to be filled up with additional flats as soon as the planning permission is obtained. Will the planning department spot this? I doubt it...Will the councillors in the Planning meeting spot this? I am 100 per cent certain they will.

Cllr Hall's comments do not help the situation either, where he claims that a valid application has to be approved whether the councillors believe it is right or not. If that is the case why bother to elect councillors and not let decisions be taken by the un-elected planning bureaucrats? The planning department does not always get it right. They recommended the demolition of Gunnells despite the public outcry during the January planning meeting, but all councillors unanimously rejected it!

By the way does anyone in Stevenage have a bonus room?

LEON FOTIADIS, Fairview Road, Stevenage

If, according to Brian Hall, councillors' opinions can be rightfully ignored and invalidated by unelected planners, why not abolish the whole council and hand over management to the Deputy Prime Minister's office? One man, one rule, simple and cheap, why all the fuss about consultations with the public, registering objections, listening to people, promoting local democracy and all that spin? What a waste of money, what a farce!

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